How do you increase social influence? Don’t think about the score

Influence: The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.

Digital influence is a controversial topic. At the heart of the matter is this idea of influence and it raises questions and doubts as to whether or not the ability to cause effect or change behavior is truly measurable. Regardless of the answer, we are introduced to a new reality of social networking, an era where our actions and words in Facebook, Twitter et al. are used for and against us.

One day we awoke to find a number attached to our digital persona. And in this new awakening is a fascinating new twist in social media, the association between scores and avatars and the new digital socioeconomic factors that are introduced. We are now ranked and what was once a peer-to-peer network is now tiered, creating a social hierarchy where a score defines your place within it.

We didn’t opt in, we can’t opt out, but we can shape it.

Welcome to the EGOsystem.

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What You Should Know About the EU’s New “Internet of Things” Privacy Framework

To many, “The Internet of Things,” a predicted, transformative moment in time when nearly all “things” in the physical world will be interconnected, wirelessly, with communication capabilities linking the physical and virtual worlds for a variety of cooperative applications, is a distant point in the future.  To others, the internet of things is now.

RFID “Smart Tags” Connecting

Physical Things to Virtual Things

Radio-frequency identification technology (RFID), a technology that uses “smart tags”, tags with microchips, to provide information to a virtual network, is considered to be a primary technology in advancing “the internet of things.”  In 2011, RFID revenue is expected to exceed $6 billion, with more than 750 million so-called “item-level” RFID tags used in global apparel markets alone.  In Europe, about one billion “smart tags” are expected to be used in 2011, linking many “things” to the virtual world.

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No more mixed messages: Integrate Social Media Marketing!

Social media marketing to most in the C-suite is still a campaign-based tactic, viewed and managed separately, but it really should be integrated.  Social media marketing needs to be woven into the fabric of all marketing channels and strategically managed from a 360-degree perspective.

This integration is especially important around Customer Service, where the disparity between the customer experience in the social media channel and the customer experience in the traditional channel is a dangerous chasm.   The result is a mixed message around Customer Service – an area where none of us can afford to be unclear or inconsistent!

Think of it from the customer perspective (as you always should):  they get a quick response and dedicated attention in the social media channel, and then are subjected to the “same-old, same-old” via traditional customer service channel.  Long waits (phone or in person) and inattention in one channel will immediately cancel out any gains from your social media marketing channel.

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How to fail

There are some significant misunderstandings about failure. A common one, similar to one we seem to have about death, is that if you don’t plan for it, it won’t happen.

All of us fail. Successful people fail often, and, worth noting, learn more from that failure than everyone else.

Two habits that don’t help:

  • Getting good at avoiding blame and casting doubt
  • Not signing up for visible and important projects

While it may seem like these two choices increase your chances for survival or even promotion, in fact they merely insulate you from worthwhile failures.

I think it’s worth noting that my definition of failure does not include being unlucky enough to be involved in a project where random external events kept you from succeeding. That’s the cost of showing up, not the definition of failure.

Identifying these random events, of course, is part of the art of doing ever better. Many of the things we’d like to blame as being out of our control are in fact avoidable or can be planned around.

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Spring Cleaning for Your Business

Spring cleaning isn’t just for your house. It’s for your business too.

And no, I’m not talking about organizing files or cleaning the dust bunnies behind your desk (though that’s helpful too). I’m talking about clearing the clutter off of your plate and spending some time re-focusing on your goals.

Are you on track to end the year where you want to be?  If not, now is a good time to revisit your goals and look at what you can do to move the needle for your business.

It’s time to dust off the ideas you have for growing your business and move them up from the bottom of your to-do list. Stop procrastinating and carve out some time to get these things done.

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Influencers Want to be Influenced

Let’s face it… customers don’t become influencers in order to champion brands out of the goodness of their hearts, or because of a brilliantly-designed logo or a couple coupons they can download from the internet.

Customers become influencers because something about their experience with a brand influenced them first… and they want to continue that experience.

Influencers don’t want to be told what to do or what to buy, they want to have an experience so amazing that they are compelled to share it with their networks.   It can be a product that proves to be everything it was advertised to be PLUS MORE, or impeccable and genuinely friendly customer service, or any other experience that was so out of the ordinary that it influenced the customer to form a solid opinion about the experience and then take action to encourage others toward that same experience.

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Do you need to work better on seizing the day? Carpe Diem!

While a whole bunch of you leaving me comments are spammers, there are many kind people who have left me comments to savor.  And I owe you an explanation of why I haven’t been updating the blog lately or posting your comments.

As many of you know from reading previous posts, my husband is a four time cancer survivor.  We are now hoping to beat it for the fifth time.  And this time is very different.  Caught very early, we are living with this cancer because it cannot be removed by surgery as it is on his remaining kidney.  The good news is that it is slow growing.  So, slow, in fact, that when recently tested again, we’re in another watch and wait mode for four months until he’ll be tested again.

I am finding this very unsettling this time.  “The Saint,” as my parents refer to my husband, just takes it all in stride, confidently putting it in God’s hands.  The control freak (that would be me) has more trouble doing that; while I’m great at putting it in His hands, I keep taking it back!

So, while I’m muddling through this time, and trying to manage what is on my plate, I’ve eased up on myself for a time – trying to pace myself better, during this (my most professionally demanding) time of the year.  Perhaps you, like me, need to work on “seizing the day” better.

I am most grateful for the patience of my students, the support of my colleagues at school, the Social CMO crew (because I’m not pulling my weight there right now), clients, Twitter friends, and my extended family.  And I’m making progress; I finally purchased our plane tickets, committing us to that trip to Ireland we’ve been talking about for so long.  Yes, the little Pennsylvania Dutch boy is taking his Irish girl to her homeland.  And this precious memory-in-the-making is helping me better cope with life’s uncertainties right now.

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The Dilemma’s Innovator: Innovation and Change as the New Pillars of Business

If necessity is the mother of invention, then perhaps imagination is the source of innovation.

In December 2010, I was given the opportunity to write the cover story for Entrepreneur Magazine. The article, “Change: Lessons on What’s Next,” explored the innovation behind three (well four) companies — Foursquare, Square + Twitter, and Zappos. Throughout the years, I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with Dennis Crowley, Jack Dorsey and Tony Hsieh. And over that time, I’ve observed inherent traits that I believe represent the future of business and how companies engage with customers to create a more adaptive and connected infrastructure to compete for the future.

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Blogging Is Dead

It’s almost like a rite of spring. Every year, pundits proclaim the death of blogging.

As far back as 2007 ReadWriteWeb was asking the question. In 2008, it was Wired, wondering if the rise of Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and the like would be more en vogue for individuals, who were getting pushed aside as the conglomerate professional blogs were beginning to take prominence. In 2009, Copyblogger declared blogging dead (again) but noted that it would continue to live on. Just last year, Problogger debated the role that email played in all of this, and concluded that it’s not an either/or decision.

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Make Your Customers Feel at Home

In the physical world, when our trusted and valued friends come to visit our house, we often welcome them by saying, “Come in…make yourselves at home!”   In the virtual world, do you do the same thing?  When customers and prospects visit your online site, do they feel at home there?

Think about retailers that offer snacks, coffee, samples, valuable information, and sometimes even entertainment in their shops.  They create a welcoming atmosphere for their customers because they know it will encourage them to stay around the shop, browsing the products and learning more about the brand…and greatly increasing the chances of a sale.

Your online site needs to do the same thing.  What do you do to make your current and prospective customers feel comfortable?   What are you doing to add value to their day?  What experience are you giving them? In other words, how are you inspiring them to stick around now and return later…with their friends?

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